Marianne Johnson sets the tables at Good Samaritan Society-New Hope. (Photo courtesy of GSS-New Hope)

Running a senior living community is not an easy task. Fortunately for the Lodge of New Hope, assisted living apartments managed by the Good Samaritan Society in New Hope, MN, Marianne Johnson is a resident who knows a little about the industry, having experience as a licensed practical nurse and long-term care facility activities director.

A lifelong volunteer, Johnson continues to look for new ways to serve others. In more ways than one, she helps set the table for success in the community. 

“When I was volunteering, I did anything from driving people to doctors’ appointments, beauty appointments, whatever,” Johnson said. “Also, I would visit them if they wanted somebody; I was a senior companion. I get as much out of the visit as, hopefully, they get from me.”

At the Good Samaritan community, Johnson prepared each place setting for mealtime and never skipped a meal. Although it may seem like a small act, it took one more thing off the staff’s plate.

“She started setting a table because our housing director was doing everything here, including the kitchen work,” Activities Director Julie Scharnhorst said. “She felt really bad for him, that he had to take on that role when it wasn’t really his. And so that’s when she said, ‘I can help set the table; that’s the least I could do.’ ”

Johnson’s role in the community goes much deeper than setting tables. She’s a calming presence, and her professional expertise gives her a unique perspective on assisted living. That, and her drive to serve her community in any way she can. 

“I think that she represents a stable presence for the other residents in the activities and throughout the community as well,” Scharnhorst said. “Marianne is very intentional. She’s alert and takes in her surroundings and the people around her. That’s why she sees the need and she fills the holes where needed.”

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